Madrid:Roger Federer was making no promises as to how long his sudden return to tennis would last this season, saying he's only looking as far ahead as this week's Madrid Masters.
Less than a fortnight after withdrawing from Stockholm to rest, the world number two faces a first-round clash on Wednesday night in Spain against Czech Radek Stepanek as the Swiss tests the waters on his fitness.
"The season was long and I felt very tired, I needed some rest," he said on Monday by way of explanation for his break after the Davis Cup in September.
"But I'm still not sure how much I need. I took the time off, trained again (in Dubai) and looked at how I felt."
The 27-year-old with 13 grand slam titles evidently liked what he saw after the pause: "I'm feeling good enough now to win this event, so I came here and will play.
"I'll see where it takes me, I'm going week by week. I've felt no sickness (he suffered with glandular season from late last year), no fallbacks. (The tiredness) was just everything together."
Federer, the Madrid titleholder in 2006 and losing finalist last autumn to David Nalbandian, said that the remainder of his 2008 season will be composed of last-minute decisions depending upon his state of body and mind.
"Anything is possible, there are some exciting events left. And I have a chance to make more points," said the longtime number one now chasing rival Rafael Nadal who has held the top spot since August.
"I got my start in the indoor season (his first title came in Milan in 2001). It's not one that I like to miss. I love the game and I love to complete, that's why I'm back on the tour again."
As Nadal primed the Monday crown with first-round doubles, non-seeds swung into action at an event which began on Sunday.
Frenchman Gilles Simon, trophy-holder at Indianapolis over the summer and Bucharest last month, started with a victory against Russian Igor Andreev 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).
American Mardy Fish stepped on to court for the first time since the US Open and his last September marriage, defeating Belgian Steve Darcis in the first round 6-1, 6-4.
Simone Bolelli carried his lucky even farther after gaining an entry when Moscow finalist Marat Safin withdrew with a sore shoulder, defeating Spain's Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.